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Federal lab testing confirms case of bird flu at poultry farm in Western Maryland

November 30th, 2022 by WCBC Radio

Federal lab testing confirmed a case of bird flu at a farm in Western Maryland. The Maryland Department of Agriculture released a statement Wednesday, confirming the lab results that found a case of highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza at a poultry farm in Washington County.

MDA said state officials quarantined all affected premises and taken measures to prevent the spread of the disease. Birds or poultry products from affected flocks will not enter the food supply chain, MDA said.

"Avian influenza does not affect poultry meat or egg products, which remain healthy and safe to eat and handle. All poultry growers, operators and owners, including those who manage backyard flocks, must remain vigilant," Maryland Agriculture Secretary Joe Bartenfelder said in a statement.

Federal, state and partner agencies are working to localize the situation, which includes quarantining and testing nearby flocks, MDA said.

Avian influenza is a highly contagious airborne respiratory virus that spreads easily among birds through nasal and eye secretions. The virus can be spread in various ways from flock to flock, including by wild birds, through contact with infected poultry, by equipment, and on the clothing and shoes of caretakers.

This virus affects poultry, like chicken, and turkey, along with some wild bird species such as duck, geese, shorebirds and raptors.